From the October 1987 issue of the Socialist Standard
To use a phrase much favoured by those of a sporting ilk—we are over the moon. What is the cause of our unrestrained joy? We are going to have a baby.
Once the pregnancy is confirmed, one of the first things to happen to would-be mother is to be "inputted" into the medical system. For healthy people, who were last in hospital on the occasion of their own birth, the experience can seem an alien one. particularly, if like the majority, you are dependent upon the NHS.
The initial contact with the ante-natal clinic teaches the expectant parents several things. Firstly, one learns that lots of other people are expecting babies too! The work load imposed upon the health service is consequently greater than it can manage. No matter how dedicated the medical staff, a shabby, run-down working environment does nothing for the morale of either hospital staff, or patients.
Be prepared for a very long wait at the clinic. The time spent waiting may be used in a variety of educational ways. It is likely that upon arrival for your first visit you will be presented with a number of booklets, for example "The Baby Book" and "New Baby". Whilst booklets of this kind contain information that is extremely useful to would-be parents, they also contain a heavy amount of advertising. The commodities advertised range from nappies to breakfast cereals. Capitalism believes in catching them young. You may also, whilst waiting, be able to watch a video dealing with child birth, breast feeding, interspersed with advertisements for prams, maternity wear. etc. etc. etc.
All parents want the best out of life for their children. Some parents are in a better position to provide the best than are others. Whether a child is born with a golden spoon in his/her mouth, or a plastic one, is an accident of birth. For the child born to parents belonging to the capitalist class it is a very fortuitous accident. The path that winds from the cradle is likely to prove much easier to travel than the path confronting her/his working class counterparts.
When the birth takes place we shall not be announcing the occasion in The Times. Neither will our offspring join the present 6.6 per cent of UK pupils who go to public school. We cannot afford the fees that public schools charge — £5000+ a year at present. Eton, by the way, only comes fourteenth in the top fees list.
We hope that our child will grow up to be a healthy, happy person. That is a prospect which will be much more likely if we no longer have a system where the best way to become rich is to be born to rich parents.